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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was farmers.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 60% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Privilege June 13th, 2012

Before I go to the hon. member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, at the time the hon. member for Prince George—Peace River rose, I was also rising to interrupt.

I would like to provide all hon. members with some guidance in terms of the way in which a point of order or question of privilege ought to be raised. I will quote from House of Commons Procedure and Practice, by O'Brien and Bosc, page 143, related to the initial discussion of points raised. It states:

A Member recognized on a question of privilege is expected to be brief and concise in explaining the event which has given rise to the question of privilege and the reasons why consideration of the event complained of should be given precedence over other House business.

It goes on to state on page 144:

The Speaker will hear the Member and may permit others who are directly implicated in the matter to intervene. In instances where more than one Member is involved in a question of privilege, the Speaker may postpone discussion until all concerned Members can be present in the House. The Speaker also has the discretion to seek the advice of other Members to help him or her in determining whether there is prima facie a matter of privilege involved which would warrant giving the matter priority of consideration over other House business. When satisfied, the Speaker will terminate the discussion.

I bring this to the House's attention. Before I go to the member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel and back ultimately to the member for Winnipeg North, I will remind all hon. members that in the case of a question of privilege, the floor is not the members' until they choose to stop. The Speaker has the right to terminate that discussion if the Speaker feels that relevant points that have not been previously raised have not been brought forward. That is left to the judgment of the Speaker.

On a point of order, the hon. member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel.

Business of Supply May 31st, 2012

The time provided for the business of supply has expired. We will now move on to statements by members.

Business of Supply October 31st, 2011

Order, please. I must interrupt at this time. The hon. member will have three minutes remaining when the House returns to this matter.

Capital Experience October 25th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, there is a special group of students in Ottawa today participating in a program I call a “Capital Experience”, wherein student leaders from each of the seven high schools in my riding come to Ottawa for three days each year to learn about career opportunities in public life.

They have visited Parliament, the South Korean Embassy, Amnesty International, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the press gallery, the University of Ottawa and Summa Strategies.

I wish to thank those who shared their time with these students and thank the businesses and services clubs that sponsored them.

Today, I welcome to Parliament: Katelyn Lloyd and Iain Sullivan from Brock; Chad Leroux and Matthew Steele from Crestwood; Meredith March and Amber Wilson from Fenelon Falls; Samantha Brixi and Puru Shah from Haliburton; Samantha Thompson, Alec Becking and Dan Lowe from I.E. Weldon; Megan Connell and Mandi Manderson from L.C.V.I.; Courtney Kavanagh, Keira Mann and Robert Ridenaur from St. Thomas Aquinas; and Kali Tucker from Apsley.

I ask my colleagues to join me in wishing these young people all the best as they make decisions regarding their future careers.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay has risen on a second point of order. Maybe I will take this opportunity to clarify for all members in the House a couple of issues: one has to do with points order; the second has to do with the clock and whether it continues or stops when a point of order has been raised. This second issue has come up a couple of times in the last half hour.

I would like to remind all hon. members that at any point during proceedings, with the exception of question period, members have the right to stand and raise points of order. This is an important right that all members have, and I think we would all agree that the Speaker needs to respect that right and immediately go to that person.

As all hon. members will know, there are times when a point of order is obviously legitimate, when an issue is raised that clearly needs to be addressed. As an example of a legitimate point of order, I will not use the one just raised by the member for Timmins—James Bay. I will use the one raised a couple of minutes ago regarding the use of a member's name in the House. It has been my experience that the use of another member's name is usually inadvertent and not deliberate. Nevertheless, this needs to be addressed. Therefore, that point of order is dealt with by the Chair.

It is also often the case that members will rise using the process of a point of order to stop debate for something that the Chair determines is not a legitimate point of order. In this case, I appreciate that the member for Timmins—James Bay has recently provided us with an example of this type of point of order in his second intervention. The Chair is also required to deal with whether something is debate rather than a procedural issue or a point of order.

This brings us to the second point, which is the question of the clock and whether, when a point of order is raised, the clock continues or not. I would point out to all hon. members that it is the Chair who decides how long speeches are and that the clock is a guideline to the Chair. But at the end of the day it is actually the person in the chair who determines when it is the end of someone's speech and whether something can be added or not.

The general practice is that, if the point of order raised is legitimate, made quickly, and pertains to the business before the House, the clock does not stop and the time continues. If, however, in the view of the Chair, the point of order is being raised in an attempt to slow things down, to take away from the presentation, or to deprive another member of the opportunity to raise a point of order, the Chair has the right to add that time.

For example, when a member is making a 10-minute speech and a member from another party raises a point of order and carries on at length on what does not seem to be a legitimate point of order, the member is not punished and time is added to the member's speech. Conversely, if a member of the same party as the person making the presentation uses the same approach, often the clock is not stopped. I am sure all hon. members will agree that the Chair has an incentive not to encourage mischief but to respect the right of members to use the point of order process when it is appropriate. Members, however, must not abuse this process in an attempt to reduce or increase the speaking time of a colleague.

This is the process that is used. In the last 15 minutes, there have been examples of all these situations. Please let me assure everyone that all chair occupants do their best to do this job fairly. The Chair is charged with making sure that the rights of all hon. members are respected, and that those who have an allotted amount of time to make a presentation are not punished by having their time reduced by the actions of others, particularly when it is determined that this is the entire purpose of the point of order.

Election of Speaker June 2nd, 2011

I stand here today as one of eight candidates applying for a job. That means that the other 300-some members of Parliament constitute the hiring committee in this process. In my view, today they bear a significant responsibility to themselves, to one another, and to all Canadians to carefully consider each of the candidates before deciding which one they think would make the best Speaker of this House of Commons.

This is about more than party politics, more than helping a friend, and more than who asked them first. Today, the members will decide as a group who will be offered a four-year non-revocable contract to manage this place and to help steer the ship of Canadian democracy.

In a few minutes, we might hear my colleague, the hon. member for London West, say that experience in business is a big asset for managing the day-to-day operations of this place. I agree with that, which is why my experience as a successful businessman in real estate and running a communications company before I entered politics should be important to members. I know the importance of managing a budget and looking after customers.

I also expect that in a few minutes we might hear my colleague from Calgary Centre suggest that a broad range of life experience is necessary for our Speaker to serve as an ambassador for Canada on a global stage. I could not agree more. As we know, our Speaker stands fifth in the order of precedence and has many ceremonial and diplomatic responsibilities. That is why I place great value in my academic and international background.

I have a bachelor's degree from Carleton University and a master's degree from the State University of New York. I have also lived for a year or more in Europe, the United States and Asia. Collectively, these experiences will be a great asset if I have the opportunity to serve as the Speaker in Canada and abroad.

I expect that in a few moments, my hon. colleague from Victoria will argue that the Speaker of the House should speak both official languages. She is quite right. I believe that bilingual candidates have a clear advantage. I feel it is a matter of respect for all members of the House.

Six years ago, I could not put together a single sentence in French. Today I consider myself bilingual, perhaps not perfectly bilingual, but I can communicate in French most of the time. However, if a complicated issue or a point of order is raised, I must rely on our interpreters, because making a fair decision is paramount.

After that, I think my hon. colleague from Regina—Qu'Appelle will tell you that one must have experience in the House and in the chair in order to step into the position. I would have to agree. In the vast majority of professions, one must go through a period of training in order to master all aspects of the job. I think the same holds true here. That is why I believe that the candidate from Regina—Qu'Appelle, the candidate from Victoria and I have an advantage in this contest.

Later, I expect one thing we will hear from the member for Simcoe North is that having the right temperament is key, that having an approachable and fair-minded facilitator, someone with a calm and contemplative nature, is critically important to have in the chair.

Once again, I agree with my colleague. I believe I have the temperament well-suited to this position. I listen carefully, consider all points of view, and seek consensus when resolving delicate situations.

Finally, I expect that the candidate from Brandon—Souris across the aisle will highlight his experience managing multi-million dollar budgets as a provincial cabinet minister.

I also agree with my colleague that experience managing large public sector budgets is invaluable training to serve as Speaker of the House. While never having been a provincial cabinet minister, I have served as chief of staff for two in Ontario and played a major role managing a budget of tens of millions of dollars.

I have also served as the director of research for a national political party where I hired and managed a staff of more than 30 persons.

As I reflect back on all the positive things I have said about my fellow candidates, it seems to me that we might be able to construct the perfect Speaker if we could take the best from each of them. Alas, that is not possible. The perfect candidate is not available.

The reality is that 300 members must decide which of the eight candidates they believe would be best able to serve in this role. If it is felt that on balance I am the strongest candidate in this group, then I ask for the support of the members. If I am elected as Speaker, I will work hard every day to warrant that trust and to serve members to the best of my ability.

Retirement Income Bill of Rights February 4th, 2011

The Chair is now prepared to rule on the point of order raised by the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons on November 23, 2010, concerning the requirement for a royal recommendation for Bill C-574, An Act to promote and strengthen the Canadian retirement income system, standing in the name of the hon. member for York West.

I would like to thank the parliamentary secretary for having raised this issue as well as the hon. member for Mississauga South and the hon. member for York West for their contributions on this matter.

In presenting his concerns with respect to Bill C-574, the parliamentary secretary noted that in clause 13 the bill contains a new obligation for the Minister of Justice to “examine every regulation transmitted to the Clerk of the Privy Council for registration pursuant to the Statutory Instruments Act, as well as every bill introduced in or presented to the House of Commons by a minister of the Crown, in order to ascertain whether any of the provisions thereof are inconsistent with the purposes and provisions“ of Bill C-574.

In his view, this new duty would significantly alter the functions of the Minister of Justice, as it would require actuarial, financial and economic expertise that does not currently reside within the mandate of the minister. Accordingly, he contended that this new obligation infringes upon the financial initiative of the Crown.

In support of his claim that the bill requires a royal recommendation, the parliamentary secretary made reference to previous Speaker's rulings regarding bills that require a royal recommendation because they were adding a new function to an existing mandate. He also referred to some of the current duties and functions of the Minister of Justice with regard to the making of federal acts and regulations, specifically those described in sections 4.1 of the Department of Justice Act, as well as section 3 of the Canadian Bill of Rights.

During his intervention, the member for Mississauga South stated that the Minister of Justice is tasked with providing legal opinions on many matters, the substance of which are not necessarily directly within the jurisdiction of the Minister of Justice. In addition, he outlined that in fulfilling this broad responsibility and through proper due diligence, the minister already has available to him the specialized expertise of the government as a whole and, thus, has access to all the pertinent information with regard to whatever subject matter is at hand.

The Chair has examined carefully Bill C-574 as well as the precedents cited and the relevant statutes.

It is clear that Bill C-574, in clause 13, would require the minister to review all proposed regulations and legislation to ensure that they conform to the principles and provisions of this bill. The key question then is whether or not this review would significantly alter the existing duties and functions of the Minister of Justice.

The roles and responsibilities of the Minister of Justice are set out in the Department of Justice Act as well as several other acts of Parliament. The Department of Justice is the central agency responsible for supporting the minister in advising cabinet on all legal matters, including the constitutionality of government initiatives and activities. It also provides legal services to the government on issues that span the entire range of activities of federal departments and agencies.

More specifically, the Chair refers members to section 4(a) of the Department of Justice Act, which reads as follows:

4. The Minister is the official legal adviser of the Governor General and the legal member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and shall

(a) see that the administration of public affairs is in accordance with law;

It would seem that this section, along with the general mandate described above, clearly indicate that the Minister of Justice would be well positioned to examine any new regulations and legislative proposals to ensure that they conform to the provisions of Bill C-574.

It may be that such a review would require a certain amount of coordination of resources, perhaps even resources of an actuarial, financial and economic nature as noted by the parliamentary secretary, however, the related expenditures would be operational in nature. Therefore, the Chair cannot accept the argument that Bill C-574 would entail the expenditure of public funds by the minister for a new and distinct purpose.

Accordingly, the Chair finds that Bill C-574 does not significantly alter the duties and functions of the Minister of Justice and therefore does not require a royal recommendation.

I thank honourable members for their attention.

Foreign Affairs November 23rd, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Earlier in question period, the Prime Minister delivered condolences to the families of two South Korean soldiers who were killed earlier today in an unprovoked attack by North Korean forces on South Korea.

I know that last month the minister announced new measures against the North Korean regime. I am wondering if the Minister of Foreign Affairs could share with this House what Canada's position is regarding North Korea and what new measures may be brought forward.

Korean War Veterans November 4th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, 60 years ago, the United Nations came to the aid of South Korea when advancing North Korean forces reached the capital of Seoul. I am proud to say that when South Korea needed us, Canada did not hesitate to support that United Nations force.

This week, as we mark Veterans' Week, we are reminded of the brave Canadians who left home to defend the values of freedom and democracy for others. Our troops fought in a severe climate and through unknown and rugged terrain. On July 27, 1953, after three long years, an armistice was signed at Panmunjom to bring an end to the fighting in Korea.

On Saturday, November 14, I will have the honour to attend a ceremony at the United Nations cemetery in Pusan, a place I used to live, where many of the 516 brave Canadians who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving with the United Nations forces are buried.

This week I urge all Canadians to proudly honour our brave Korean War veterans. Lest we forget.

A Capital Experience October 26th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, there is a special group of students here today. They are participating in a program I call “A Capital Experience”, where student leaders from each of the seven high schools in my riding come to Ottawa for three days each year to learn about career opportunities in public life.

They have visited Parliament, the Embassy of South Korea, Amnesty International, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Press Gallery and the University of Ottawa.

I wish to thank those who shared their time with these students and thank the businesses and service clubs who sponsored them.

Today I welcome to Parliament: Alex Jebson and Rebekah Lindensmith from Brock; Keagan Comber and Kelsey Priestman from Crestwood; Madison Frank and Devon Jackson from Fenelon Falls; Hayley Sullivan from Haliburton; Dan Lowe and Hayley Preston from I.E. Weldon; Emma Whyte and Brandon Remmelgas from L.C.V.I.; Paige Cleary and Paige Cooke from St. Thomas Aquinas; and Haley Roter from Apsley.

I ask my colleagues to join me in wishing these young people all the best as they make decisions regarding their future careers.